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What Are You Working For?

What Are You Working For?

As a business owner, I can tell you starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes patience, perseverance, determination and a little bit of insanity.  Understandably, there are people who want a stable job where a paycheck arrives every two weeks. My parents worked for their companies a very long time and they never quite understood entrepreneurship. My father worked forty-four years and never used a sick day because he was dedicated to his company.

Thanks to my father’s company where he retired, my mother has the best in health insurance and a retirement plan.  Benefits like that are hard to get in today’s economy.  Unfortunately, that kind of employee-employer loyalty is rare in today’s business environment.

Would I be more comfortable working in a 9 to 5 career with business risks falling on someone else’s shoulders? I can honestly say “no.”  And here are a few reasons why:

People Issues

There is no shortage of people and leadership issues in the workforce. Unfortunately for American workers, most people are unfulfilled, unsatisfied, unrecognized, under-utilized, under-appreciated and unengaged. Why? Leaders typically rank financial issues and a host of other concerns higher in priority than people issues. Address your people issues, on the other hand, and other business concerns will begin to come together.

Mission-Based Living

I’m on a mission to help create Great Workplaces across America.  Employees will enjoy their work life much more if they see a higher meaning attached to it. Most companies say they want employees to enjoy the experience and be passionate about their work, yet that is not the case most of the time.  I am very passionate about treating people with trust, dignity and respect at work. When I confront an untouchable executive about their bully behavior, all of a sudden this passion is considered insubordination.  It doesn’t work to have high moral values and passion about developing a great company culture unless there is true independence as a consultant.

Greed is Alive and Well

Greed destroys lives. Along with many good people, I helped build a nationally recognized company that was destroyed by the uncontrolled greed of a few individuals.  As a result, I learned a very hard lesson: organizational leaders should be held accountable for their behavior.  Leaders should understand how their decisions will affect the hard-working people inside a company. If leaders start veering off a moral path, someone should be able to throw up a red flag.  If their warnings are not heeded, the leader(s) should be shown the exit. Greed has hurt a number of good, innocent people in our country and city recently.  Great Workplaces help to weed out toxic influences like greed. Making money, being profitable, incentive plans, etc., are all extremely necessary. Greed, however, must be kept under lock and key.

Take a few minutes to think about what you are working for in 2009.

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.

1 Comment


  1. […] who now runs his own organizational consulting business, in his blog Chief People Officer:  In this post, Kennemer writes about the importance of good leadership, mission-based living, and […]

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